I don't think that's out of line with the norm.
Galleries have expenses that they have to cover. I'm entering my photos to this gallery in my town. It cost $35 to enter up to 3 pieces. I've gotten into a few shows at this gallery, but never sold a single piece. But it's a 60/40 split. I see paying the entry fee as supporting my local gallery. This is a community gallery and not for profit.
“We are buried beneath the weight of information, which is being confused with knowledge; quantity is being confused with abundance and wealth with happiness.
We are monkeys with money and guns.”
― Tom Waits
I am a member of a photo club. In previous years, we ran a print competition as an adjunct to a photo symposium, which offered a small trade fair and several technical workshops from well known local presenters.
The print competition had a small entry fee for each of up to three prints. The prints were judged by some local experienced judges and there was an opportunity to win both "ribbon" type prizes and some prizes with a small (~$100.00) market value.
Entered prints were also displayed at the symposium and at the open to the public reception that preceded it.
With the exception of the judges and workshop presenters, who each received stipends, all other work was performed by volunteers.
The print entry fees and the workshop fees were enough to defray the expenses of the entire event, plus a very small profit. A whole bunch of photography enthusiasts from around our area got together, and many of them got to share their work with others.
A good time was had by all. So I'd say, don't judge the process merely by the fact that a fee is charged.
Here is a link to the info about the event in 2013: http://www.deltaphotoinspirations.com/Home.html
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
I agree with eddie's comments. There are some scams. But many are reputable. I enter photos as often as possible and have had my work seen--and chosen for exhibition- by some excellent photographers and curators. It really is a matter of doing your homework and determining if that show is right for you. And remember that the organization putting on the show has expenses to pay as well... often the juror is given a stipend (or taken out to a nice dinner at least), advertising, costs associated with hosting a reception, etc. (oops! Looks like others already said this...).
I do stay away from the galleries who just want a hi-res jpeg and will digitally print the entries in-house. If they want my print, it will be one I printed in the darkroom!
"So I am turning over a new leaf but the page is stuck". Diane Arbus
OP...with the world polluted with cell phone pix they would be drowned in photos if there was no fee. Most of us don't do contests. I'd suggest you start a Tumblr or some blog to showcase your work for free. Unless you must try to win contests. Good luck!
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I'm not a show person. Let them be.
Originally Posted by Iluvmycam
Interesting that only members from N-America participated so far. I do not know such competitions at galleries or similar.
I've never paid a dime to enter a competitionand never won anything either.
Originally Posted by RalphLambrecht
Well, I'm a member of a large local photo club. The club itself is somehow related (or a partner) to several local galleries. It is also a sponsor to a few other activities, like land preservation, trail association, park district, etc.....
But nevertheless, I do not think I'll be active in the shows or exhibits.... Just too much work and little recognition.
Generally I work on the priciple of cost vs reward:
- Costs include the entry fee, plus whatever rights you sign over to the organisers for use of that image.
- Rewards can include the cash prizes, but also if they make you a nice print out of it, and the prestige and exposure you get.
I've got no problems in paying for an entry, there's one on around here that I'm going to enter this year: they want a 4-photo entry for $40 entry fee, but the first prize is $15k. For that money they can have whatever rights to reprint what they want.
Similarly, if it's a free competition, I'll enter it for no prize money, just to get some kudos and/or exposure. Depending on what rights they want to the entries will decide if I give them a decent photo, shoot one specifically, or give them a great photo I would like to use elsewhere.
In certain circumstances I'd pay a fee for no prize money, eg if it's a charity, or if it a gallery I know and trust and I really wanted the exposure (ie, if I were trying to set up a photography business, which I'm not atm)
But if they want a not-insignificant entry fee, for no decent prize, and unreasonable terms to use the entry image, forget about it.
An awful lot of electrons were terribly inconvenienced in the making of this post.
f/64 and be there.